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  1. Abstract

    Floral nectar is frequently colonised by microbes. However, nectar microbial communities are typically species‐poor and dominated by few cosmopolitan genera. One hypothesis is that nectar constituents may act as environmental filters. We tested how five non‐sugar nectar compounds as well as elevated sugar impacted the growth of 12 fungal and bacterial species isolated from nectar, pollinators, and the environment. We hypothesised that nectar isolated microbes would have the least growth suppression. Additionally, to test if nectar compounds could affect the outcome of competition between microbes, we grew a subset of microbes in co‐culture across a subset of treatments. We found that some compounds such as H2O2suppressed microbial growth across many but not all microbes tested. Other compounds were more specialised in the microbes they impacted. As hypothesised, the nectar specialist yeastMetschnikowia reukaufiiwas unaffected by most nectar compounds assayed. However, many non‐nectar specialist microbes remained unaffected by nectar compounds thought to reduce microbial growth. Our results show that nectar chemistry can influence microbial communities but that microbe‐specific responses to nectar compounds are common. Nectar chemistry also affected the outcome of species interactions among microbial taxa, suggesting that non‐sugar compounds can affect microbial community assembly in flowers.

     
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  2. null (Ed.)
    A detailed evaluation of eight bacterial isolates from floral nectar and animal visitors to flowers shows evidence that they represent three novel species in the genus Acinetobacter . Phylogenomic analysis shows the closest relatives of these new isolates are Acinetobacter apis , Acinetobacter boissieri and Acinetobacter nectaris , previously described species associated with floral nectar and bees, but high genome-wide sequence divergence defines these isolates as novel species. Pairwise comparisons of the average nucleotide identity of the new isolates compared to known species is extremely low (<83 %), thus confirming that these samples are representative of three novel Acinetobacter species, for which the names Acinetobacter pollinis sp. nov., Acinetobacter baretiae sp. nov. and Acinetobacter rathckeae sp. nov. are proposed. The respective type strains are SCC477 T (=TSD-214 T =LMG 31655 T ), B10A T (=TSD-213 T =LMG 31702 T ) and EC24 T (=TSD-215 T =LMG 31703 T =DSM 111781 T ). 
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  3. null (Ed.)
    Flowers at times host abundant and specialized communities of bacteria and fungi that influence floral phenotypes and interactions with pollinators. Ecological processes drive variation in microbial abundance and composition at multiple scales, including among plant species, among flower tissues, and among flowers on the same plant. Variation in microbial effects on floral phenotype suggests that microbial metabolites could cue the presence or quality of rewards for pollinators, but most plants are unlikely to rely on microbes for pollinator attraction or reproduction. From a microbial perspective, flowers offer opportunities to disperse between habitats, but microbial species differ in requirements for and benefits received from such dispersal. The extent to which floral microbes shape the evolution of floral traits, influence fitness of floral visitors, and respond to anthropogenic change is unclear. A deeper understanding of these phenomena could illuminate the ecological and evolutionary importance of floral microbiomes and their role in the conservation of plant–pollinator interactions. 
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  4. ABSTRACT Microbial dispersal is essential for establishment in new habitats, but the role of vector identity is poorly understood in community assembly and function. Here, we compared microbial assembly and function in floral nectar visited by legitimate pollinators (hummingbirds) and nectar robbers (carpenter bees). We assessed effects of visitation on the abundance and composition of culturable bacteria and fungi and their taxonomy and function using shotgun metagenomics and nectar chemistry. We also compared metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) of Acinetobacter, a common and highly abundant nectar bacterium, among visitor treatments. Visitation increased microbial abundance, but robbing resulted in 10× higher microbial abundance than pollination. Microbial communities differed among visitor treatments: robbed flowers were characterized by predominant nectar specialists within Acetobacteraceae and Metschnikowiaceae, with a concurrent loss of rare taxa, and these resulting communities harbored genes relating to osmotic stress, saccharide metabolism and specialized transporters. Gene differences were mirrored in function: robbed nectar contained a higher percentage of monosaccharides. Draft genomes of Acinetobacter revealed distinct amino acid and saccharide utilization pathways in strains isolated from robbed versus pollinated flowers. Our results suggest an unrecognized cost of nectar robbing for pollination and distinct effects of visitor type on interactions between plants and pollinators. Overall, these results suggest vector identity is an underappreciated factor structuring microbial community assembly and function. 
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